REPORT: Carlisle 1-1 Stevenage
Stevenage fought hard to come away from Carlisle with what could be a valuable point in the race for the play-offs.
Steve Schumacher’s second half penalty was cancelled out by Jabo Iberhe’s equaliser but it was seen very much as a point gained rather than two lost.
Darren Sarll made four changes from Friday’s defeat to Morecambe. Jamie Jones back in goal after recovering from his injury at Crewe whilst Dale Gorman came in for Fraser Franks. Kgosi Ntlhe and Kaylen Hinds replaced the injured duo of Matty Godden and Josh McQuoid to give Monday’s team a different look to usual.
Top goalscorer and leading man all season, Godden having broken his toe in Good Friday’s game and is now likely out for the season.
Almost as soon as the game started, Kgosi Ntlhe saw a long range effort fly over the bar but Carlisle soon began to get on top and started dictating play. Grainger fired over from 20 yards and Boro were made to dig in during the opening 25 minutes or so.
The game soon started to even out though as Darren Sarll’s men began to get a foot hold on proceedings. Charlie Lee’s head brought a stop out of Gillespie after rising for Schumacher’s free-kick and it seemed that any potential early nerves soon dissipated.
Despite settling down, the home side ended the half the on the ascent. Proctor blasted over on the half volley after being played in over the top and he also came close to getting on the end of a Devitt delivery from the right.
Carlisle continued to put pressure on the Boro defence with crosses from out wide and twice had chances as Proctor and then Rayner could only head wide from successive corners.
Boro saw out the half and headed into the dressing room all square, a satisfactory 45 minutes for the men in red and white.
Having fought so hard to keep it scoreless during the first half, the start to the second couldn’t have been better. Kgosi Ntlhe fouled in the box, the referee pointing to the spot and Steve Schumacher doing the rest - blasting it down the middle.
With a goal in the bag, Boro were feeling confident and looking for more. McAnuff fired over after robbing the ball off Reggie Lambe on the edge of his own area and Wilkinson glanced a Schumacher free-kick wide a few moments later.
The best chance was yet to come though, Steve Schumacher one-on-one with Gillespie after McAnuff slipped him in but the goalkeeper did brilliantly for his side to keep it 1-0.
You felt that was a big moment and so it proved as Carlisle got back on top and kept on the attack. Jabo Iberhe, often the difference between the two sides over the years, latching onto an angled pass towards the back-post and finishing with typical aplomb.
Both sides had chances to win it inside the last 15 minutes as Carlisle piled the bodies forward and Boro looked to hit on the break. Jones needed his best stuff when Nicky Adams looked to be finding the top corner from distance whilst McAnuff’s shot/cross went just the wrong side of the post. Right at the end, Proctor headed over from close range in injury time much to the relief of the travelling fans.
In the end, a massive point for Stevenage as they move up a place in the table and remain well in the hunt for a play-off spot.
Attendance: 4,572 (121)
Stevenage: Jones, Ntlhe, Gorman (Franks 60'), Wilkinson, Ogilvie, Schumacher, Lee, King, Pett (Loft 80’), Hinds (Wells 90+3'), McAnuff
Unused Subs: Day, Tonge, McKee, Gray